Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange has said he will not forgive or forget the rape allegation or investigation that forced him to seek asylum and stay at Ecuador’s embassy in London for five years.
Assange said this on Friday after Sweden dropped its probe into the allegation of rape against him.
“Today is an important victory for me and for the U.N. human rights system. But it by no means erases seven years of detention without charge, imprisoned under house arrest and almost five years here in this embassy without sunlight.
“Seven years without charge while my children grew up without me. That is not something I can forgive, it is not something I can forget.”
Appearing on the balcony of the central London embassy where he has spent five years, Assange criticised Western governments but said he was prepared to enter into dialogue with London and Washington.
“But let us understand, while today was an important victory, and important vindication, the road is far from over. The war, the proper war, is just commencing,” he said.
“The UK has said it will arrest me regardless. Now the United States, CIA’s Director (Mike) Pompeo and the U.S. attorney general have said that I and other WikiLeaks staff have no rights, we have no First Amendment rights, and that my arrest and the arrest of our other staff is a priority. That’s not acceptable. WikiLeaks will continue its publications.”
Assange, 45, took refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden after two women made rape and sexual molestation allegations against him, which he denies.
He feared Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of swathes of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.
Although Sweden has dropped the probe, UK police said Assange would be arrested if he leaves the embassy, saying a warrant for the 45-year-old’s arrest was issued when he failed to surrender to the court in 2012 and that the Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she won’t interfere with that decision.
“In relation to Julian Assange, any decision that is taken about the UK action in relation to him were he to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy would be an operational matter for the police,” she said.
Assange, however, criticised the position of the UK, saying, “The claim by the United Kingdom, that it has a right to arrest me for seeking asylum, a case where there have been no charges, which is now being dismissed, is simply untenable. My legal staff have contacted the United Kingdom authorities, and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what is the best way forward.”